Saturday saw me and Kyle scouting out some new water on the Calder, I found what I thought to be THE best looking feature packed swim on the river and it just screamed fish.
So this morning I headed out early doors to my new found spot only to discover it wasn't exactly as I remember. Having Kyle with me Saturday meant I couldn't spend much time stood around and climbing up and down river banks and failed to realize that the trees above were a little too low to be waving a 14 foot float rod under, add to it some extra water in the river, around a foot since Sunday morning and I was put off fishing it today. It is worth another look, well worth it in fact but needs some of the undergrowth hacking through and a couple of small steps in the bank to make it safe getting up and down. This should then put me further up stream of the trees whilst still allowing me to trot down them and past the 'other' big fish holding feature.
Plan B was then put into action, just a short way along the river there is an overflow from the canal lock that runs into it creating a nice crease as well as adding oxygen to the water as it tumbles over the rocks and into the river. I got tackled up and set about feeding maggots and hemp whilst I sat back and admired the kingfisher down stream and drank a cup of tea. The swim was between 4 and 6 feet deep sloping from the bank and had some wooden stumps in the water that looked like they were once part of a boat mooring of some kind. I had rigged up a 5 no.6 stick float and expecting more roach than anything today I went for a size 18 hook rather than a 16 and used a 0.10 middy hook link. I was also using today for the first time the new Drennan Supplex line instead of my usual float fish, 4lb but at 0.16 its the same diameter as the 3.2lb float fish I had been using.
First trot and the float only traveled 2 yards before it went under just as I expected only instead of a small roach or dace coming up the rod bent over and I could feel a solid thump thump on the other end, the fish move slowly at first as though it didn't know what to do before setting off on a steady 30 yard down stream run. I had no idea what the fish was but as it headed into the main flow and started to thump again I was thinking that just maybe it could be my first Calder barbel, I gained a bit of line back before it steadily plodded down stream again. It was getting a bit too close to one of the stumps for my liking so I leaned into it a bit more only for it give one more thump and throw the hook.
Rather bemused by the loss of a good fish so early I re baited hoping for more. The usual roach and dace had arrived and I tried not to think what could have been,(although now I have my doubts) half a dozen fish in as many trots went in the net before it suddenly went quiet. The down stream wind not helping much as it was coming at a slight angle and pushing the float well off line as it went more sideways than downwards. I soon swapped to a bit bigger float and was picking the odd fish up but much slower than is normal this year on the River so cut back on the amount of food I was feeding each trot and picked a few up from low down the peg, steady feeding brought them closer to me but I was not happy with the presentation I was getting. I was about to make some changes to the rig when I hooked into another good fish, it didn't feel as big but fought in a similar way although the run down stream was absent. It rolled just under the surface and spat the hook and I caught a glimpse of what looked like a nice bream(again I now have my doubts).
Gutted that I had lost two good fish I stuck at it and made some changes to the rig, I moved each shot down slightly and also added a no.6 above the float to try and keep the worst of the wind off the line just above the float. This had a dramatic effect and I imeadiately had 3 good roach, all needing to be netted. Not really getting their heads down the fish came in bits and bats with roach of various sizes, dace and a few small perch all falling to maggots and coming quicker when the awkward wind eased. It had been quiet for a while and I was thinking of packing in for the day when the float dipped and the rod hooped over again.
I was determined not to loose a third and very gingerly tried to ease the fish up stream letting it have its head when it wanted, it felt bream like on the end as it turned in the flow and wallowed around until it came to the surface and jumped 2 feet clear of the water! It's then I realized exactly what it was, one of the Calders resident big ide. After it landed with a large splosh on the water it twisted and wallowed all the way to the net. Having had my first and only experience of river ide last year I had forgotten how hard they fight and pull back in the current, far better than their carp puddle cousins these are like a different species. They look a hell of a lot better too, I didn't weigh it but I would say it was around 3lb
An ide of 6lbs featured in the angling press during the winter that came from the Calder during a match and I now think the lost fish today were also ide, the first being a very large one judging by the amount of line it took. I re convened fishing only to find it still very slow going so with large clouds blowing my way I called it a day, pleased with the nice ide but also a little disappointed at the lack of roach and dace. I expected more form such a nice swim but for whatever reason they were not playing ball and I tipped back around 10lbs of silvers. Perhaps it was the wind that meant the bait was not presented correctly or as its the first time I have fished this area there is not the head of fish that there is elsewhere, either way I have fallen in love with this place and look forward to my next outing.